Cameron County partners with VTX-1 to expand broadband access

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The Cameron County Commissioners Court are seen Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023, during a meeting. (Courtesy: Cameron County)

On Tuesday, the Cameron County Commissioners Court approved an agreement with VTX-1 to expand broadband services throughout the county.

“The COVID pandemic shed light on the digital divide that exists in Cameron County and the disadvantage that our citizens, students and those seeking medical attention were left to deal with in our area,” a news release stated. “This public private partnership with VTX-1 is a positive first step toward the goal of making affordable broadband services available to all citizens in Cameron County.”

The agreement calls for VTX-1 to provide professional grant writing services to pursue grants to help fund broadband expansion that is estimated to cost “well over $100 million.”

“The agreement also provides minimum speeds of 100/50 mbs at a $30.00 per month price point for all new and existing customers,” the release stated. “Qualifying low income households will have the opportunity to pursue reimbursement through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and receive $30.00 per month to cover the service fee.”

Prior to competing for the grant funding, VTX-1 on its part said it will install broadband infrastructure within 120 calendar days to Bluetown, Lozano, San Pedro and areas south of the causeway on South Padre Island, including Isla Blanca Park.

“Additionally, VTX-1 will expand wireless services to several areas within Cameron County to provide connectivity with improved download and upload speeds,” the release stated.

VTX-1 will be using its own funding and grant opportunities to cover this cost and the release said it will not require a financial contribution from Cameron County, according to the release.

Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. said expanding broadband is a top priority of the Commissioners Court.

“The pandemic shed light on the lack of broadband connectivity in our area and the disadvantage ethos created for our citizens,” he said in the release. “This partnership with VTX-1 is a positive step toward addressing the digital divide that exists in our area and will ensure that our citizens have the necessary broadband connectivity they need for education, working remotely and telemedicine.”